Crowdsearch is a vehicle recovery solution that uses a wireless device hidden within vehicles to connect with a “crowd” of smartphones to track stolen vehicles in real time and to relay the location for recovery.
Launch date: 2017
Keywords: Internet of Things, Vehicle Insurance
Discovery Insure offers car and home insurance combined with innovative and unique safety features. Vehicle theft and hijackings are major concerns for the public and insurers in South Africa. Current available technology to track stolen vehicles is fast becoming less effective, mainly because perpetrators have become able to locate and disable tracking devices within minutes, as devices are traditionally hard wired into the vehicle to remain powered.
Discovery Insure is developing and readying the Crowdsearch solution. Using a wireless device, Crowdsearch aims to apply Discovery Insure’s wireless telematics sensor and smartphone technology to create homing beacons to find stolen cars. These beacons will be located by the smartphones of Discovery clients with the Discovery app. Over 500 000 people currently use the Discovery app as part of their short-term and other insurance. The reach this “crowd” of smartphones provides is wide enough to locate vehicles that have been stolen across roads in South Africa. The technology will relay the location of stolen vehicles to Discovery Insure’s vehicle recovery teams to track vehicles in real time. The device itself is hidden in the vehicle and more difficult to locate than traditional tracking devices as it is not hard wired to the vehicle.
This innovation will be a first in the insurance industry and has the ability disrupt the industry and current stolen-vehicle-recovery methods, by overcoming some of the risks associated with the current technology, such as removal of devices. Other forms of wireless tracking devices exist but use traditional RF technologies with mainly terrestrial based wireless infrastructure maintained by the tracking company. The smartphone technology combined with a wireless device that can be well hidden within vehicles, will provide a more robust vehicle recovery solution to clients of Discovery Insure. The technology will also provide a second layer of safety by enabling the ImpactAlert feature of the Discovery sensor using the “crowd” of smartphones if the driver of the vehicle does not have the registered smartphone with them. The technology also incorporates the driving behaviour elements of the current telematics solution making for a potentially more robust recovery service with driver behaviour telematics in one device and solution at a much more manageable price point for insurers compared with traditional telematics devices on the market.